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Darrel Ellis

Art in General

Photography had a profound impact on the art of Darrel Ellis. In this posthumous retrospective of over seventy of Ellis’ works in various media dating from 1979 to 1992, it is the manipulated photographs and their translations into paint and ink that are most compelling.

Ellis’ relationship to photography was always ambivalent, even agonistic. He was photographed by both Robert Mapplethorpe and Peter Hujar, and his often reproduced Self-Portrait After Robert Mapplethorpe Photograph, 1989, is obviously an attempt to recover his own likeness, to take it back through his hands as he painted. Ellis was a committed self-portraitist, right up to the moment of his death from AIDS in 1992 at age thirty-three. When he was found lying in his bed in a coma, the easel at his bedside held an unfinished self-portrait, showing him with eyes closed, in the very pose he took in death.

But Ellis was most

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